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The No Man's Sky PC launch is a disaster

PlayStation 4 players of No Man's Sky have been gushing over it all week as we came to the eagerly awaited global PC launch. Only that PC launch has been pretty disastrous, with less than 50% positive reviews on Steam for much of the first day.

Why so bad? A large number of players are seeing huge frame rate issues and massive stuttering, even on low settings with high-end hardware. Including us.

We've loaded up No Man's Sky on a Skylake quad-core i7 and a GTX 1080 and can't play it for any length of time, even on low settings at 1080p, without massive glitches and frame rate drops, some times as low as 5fps. But it isn't just us, that wouldn't be a story.

Reports are flying across the web, and you only have to hit Reddit and Steam to see leagues of unhappy customers, many even getting refunded because the game is that bad for them right now. A day 1 patch has already been pushed out but it's not made anything better for us, or many others it seems. It's not localized to just NVIDIA hardware, either, with a number of AMD users also seeing similar issues.

As we keep being reminded, Hello Games is a small team, but regardless this is a AAA priced title at $60. On one hand the PS4 version seems to be faultless, on the other the PC version is virtually unplayable for many. We'll have to wait and see what fixes come out in the coming days, but for now, maybe hold off dropping your money.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

87 Comments
  • Not surprising, given that the PS-OS reads the game differently than Windows does. You'll be plagued with issues for a considerable time, while it gets optimized for Windows.
  • like the last Batman?? They worked on it and FAILED  
  • It shouldn't be different. Sony uses OpenGL for the PS4, which is supported on Windows. They would make very few calls to the Windows API, just setting up the initial window and associating that window with the OpenGL renderer, and that would be a minimal number of lines of code. The PS4 uses a desktop processor so there is no difference in the instruction set that you would need to optimize for, which is why there were very few ports from PS3 to desktop, the Cell processor. You use the gcc compiler on PS, while you could use either gcc or MSVC on Windows, but code changes to compile on both compilers would be minimal and not done at the very end, you would compile on both as you built it. We know they used MSVC, though, since they shipped installers that didn't work on newly setup computers since the VC runtime was not installed. We also hear about the "PC Master Race" where desktops are much more powerful than consoles. The PS4 uses a AMD 78xx equivalent GPU which is way behind a Nvidia 1080. The CPU is also weak compared to the i7 used here. It just sounds like it is a poorly written game. They are already talking about how they will release a version when the PS Neo ships that changes the story, and the reason they gave was that the PS4 wasn't powerful enough for the story they wanted. Everything about this game seems bad, from old, outdated compilers, shipping code that does not work if you install on a new computer, lockups, framedrops, repetitive game play, and so on. Of course there is one big name tech site that ran an article saying that it is broken, but they put a spin on it because they have been promoting it for a while and can't let it sound bad since they promote Sony heavily.
  • That's just like, your opinion, man. /sarcasm Seriously, good response.
  • Doesn't the PS4 use a whole bunch of extension APIs with OpenGL to grant more power for developers, or something like that? Those would not be available on PC. There might also be differences in how they handle memory (both CPU and GPU) since the pool is shared on PS4.
  • Running quite well for me on an i5-3570 and an NV660 in 1080p so I'm not sure what's causing such an issue on better hardware.
  • I'm using a i5 3570k too and a GTX 1060, all on max settings, and its running lovely. ☺
  • I5-6600K and GTX 1070 running max at 1440p with no problems here.
  • Makes one wonder what hardware they tested on that made them think it was ready for release. Here hoping they can resolve problems quick. It's ok to have bugs for early adopters (even if this is on the unplayable side of things), not ok to let them linger.
  • I'm only commenting because I love your profile pic, I just stocked up on that delicious Nutella for the rest of the month... if 2 large jars last me that long  I also hope they can resolve the bugs soon, I was waiting for tonight to purchase it but I am glad I read the reviews first... I will definitely wait!
  • To be clear, the bugs are in the game, right?...RIGHT???
  • There seems to be one set of problems just to get the game to launch, which can be fixed by updating your drivers.  But that only gets you to the hideous fps problems!  OTOH, if you believe the streams, the game looks great on a pc when it plays.  
  • If only Windows had a store that could be used for universal installations.
  • Wouldn't stop this game being a pile of hot garbage. Remember how rough Gears of War was at launch? It seems as though this could be a lazy PS4 port. Doesn't matter where you sell it, trash is trash.
  • Geez when was a good port ever released Richard haha remember Arkham Knight. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android (LG V10 or Nexus 5x)
  • Never played that on PC. Thankfully. But yeah, it's tough out there!
  • Geez I know lazy people nowadays I suppose. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android (LG V10 or Nexus 5x)
  • That's why people should always wait for reviews before they go out and throw $60 away. Lucky for those that bought on Steam or in a jurisdiction that has consumer protection laws that allow a refund when someone sell you something not fit for purpose.  
  • Mine is running beautiful I see being on a water planet frames are lower but this game is far from garbage when you understand what it really is. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It still is if reviews are to be believed. They're talking about stuttering issues on a 980ti and being unplayable on a GTX 1080.  Also, last I checked Quantum break is no longer getting updates on UWP. So, you're SOL if you have issues with that game there.  EDIT: On a personal note, KI works fantastic for me on PC. Had some issues after AU, but hopefully a fix comes out on another W10 update. For now, I just have to remember to disable and enable my controller in device manager before starting the game.
  • While the game runs well for me I do have to say I notice the dumbed down interfaces and whatnot. I feel like this was a game that started on pc, Sony came in with a bunch of money and then they said let's start over for ps4. I was expecting this since the actual launch times for announced. They played it well. Delay the pc version for a ps4 issue, then announce one date so the pc master race doesn't go insane. Then a week before the release clarify is ps4 only for a few days... Brilliant when you think about it. I'm having fun but it's a lot like ark or any other survival game at its core. Gather resources. Don't die. Don't make anyone angry. It's a good start. Now they just need to keep updating this and grow it and then sell it to Microsoft for a few billion so they can get it on Xbox ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is why I didn't preorder honestly. Indie devs doing a AAA priced game on multiple platforms with a small team on a type of game that is complex in algorithms that had no review copies sent out and a delay in launch on PC didn't feel like a safe one to preorder. Besides, I have seen enough crashes on the PS4 version around the internet, I knew the PC version was going to definitely have issues. Hopefully they are able to fix it because it does look interesting for what it is.
  • I refuse to preorder for this very reason, I prefer to wait and read reviews/customer experiences before I buy a game in any price range. As I had a feeling this one would have mixed results for all rigs, some will run it fine and others will have serious issues. If the developer does iron out all the major issues, I'll give this game a try.
  • From what I have read the PS version is not exactly high quality, either. Then there is game play, where supposedly once you get past the initial stage it is very repetitive. This was supposed to one of Sony's big name titles and I was thinking of getting it for my PS4, but knew something was up when Amazon had it discounted by $15 on day 1.
  • We've got people on staff playing on PS4 who've said it's a good experience all round. Whether it's your sort of game is different, but at least it seems to work properly on PlayStation.
  • The PS4 version has a fairly low score on Mediacritic, a 69 for professional reviews, 4.9/10 for user reviews. The more I read about this, the more people who either have problems with it, or it just is not fun.  
  • The PS4 version drops to 13fps and has awful textures, pop-in and collision detection. Furthermore, the opening statement--"PlayStation 4 players of No Man's Sky have been gushing over it all week"--seems odd too given that the game, PS4 or otherwise, has been pummeled by gamers and critics alike as being boring and frustrating.
  • So should we call it No Man's Buy?
  • You should sue.
  • Well at least I can feel less bad about not being able to get it yet...
  • work well on 6800k and 1080gtx 128 gb ram
  • lol I knew this was gonna flop and be broken. everything on pc comes out broken
  • PC means near infinite variations of processor, ram, chipset, video, storage, etc. A console is pretty much exactly like every other console.
  • You mean, everything from careless developers that can't be bothered to do proper QA prior to launch, right?  
  • People have been warned countless times not to pre-order any games, just for this exact reason; the golden rule is to always wait for PC specific reviews that go into perfomance details and not just the story and other fluff. People never seem to learn, not when Sim City came out, not when Assasins Creed came out and not when Batman came out, all complete disasters on launch; and yet I am sure we will be having the same discussion in a few months time when another disaster comes along and people that have no self control go out and pre-order and then complain because they could not wait until the damn thing came out.  
  • "story and other fluff.."
    I do hope that's just poor wording ;P
  • Yeah :D, I meant everything other than how the game actually runs and performs; as if you can't even run the game, everything else is not really important to you.  
  • Watchdogs taught me the lesson of never preordering.
  • Running fine for me on an i7 6700K and a GTX 1080 at 4k. Makes me wonder if people ever update their graphics card drivers.
  • At this point, it's not so much the drivers as the shitty development of the game itself. Our Matt Brown ran it on an updated GTX 1080 with the day-one patch and had the exact same issues. The game itself is a dumpster fire, not the drivers, which doesn't explain the crappy menu system and other oddities.
  • Just out of curiosity, which Windows versions were used by Evo01 and Matt Brown?
  • What, you don't like right clicking out of every menu instead of escape or having to hit e to make something in your inventory, or left click to make other things, or spending the first 45 minutes trying to figure that out? Seems great to me /s. ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I get a respectable and pretty stable 40-50fps @4k with my 1080.  Can't really complain much about performance.. Game just isn't very fun.
  • When I first l saw the title I thought it was a different type of game, that had no men and only women. When I saw the trailers and read about it, it seemed that all you do is fly around and explore. This doesn't appeal to me but maybe someone else would find it fun. But the price is too high.
  • Over hyped game. Graphics are ****.
  • Almost ordered it yesterday but when I read the reviews about multiplayer that showed the developer has been outright lying about the game decided to give it a miss. A shame because I love the concept but I suspect it needs a bigger studio behind it.
  • All I can think of is the chant, "Over rated!!! Over rated!!!"
  • It's all running smooth for me at max graphical settings. i5 3570k, GTX 1060 at 2560x1080. I had a few stutters in the first few minutes but it evened out and is now running at a solid 60fps.
  • ... Is the economy so bad that game devs can't afford to do a little testing with a standard gaming pc(skylake+1080)? Don't they even have a personal gaming rig? No one at the company? Man this has to be intentional
  • There are multiple variants of CPU, GPU, OS versions (including different updates), driver versions and possibly other interfering software. It's not quite that simple (doesn't make not working OK of course).
  • You have a funny definition of "standard gaming PC".
    And anyway, developer that small probably doesn't have ties to hardware manufacturers like bigger studios probably do. 1080 was JUST released, game has been in development for quite a bit longer.
  • Try adjusting Windows power configuration settings via Control Panel. Create a new power profile and disable power throttling features like USB, hard drive, etc.
  • The game works flawlessly for me on PS4, there is a lot of pop in, but the game also is loading entire solar systems and allowing free travel between planets without loading so... can't really complain about that. They probably bit off more than they can chew with releasing it on PC as well right from the get go. And besides what games don't turn out to be a streaming pile of crap on PC these days when they are a console focus first? I can name a handful and surprisingly enough most are exclusive to Xbox (They also didn't get beat up pieces on this site, oddly enough).
  • Gears got beat up on here if I remember correctly. Glad you like the game, but I see it as an inch deep game that's a mile wide. Sorry that most others feel the same. It is single player only. So you could enjoy it by yourself for years.
  • I'll drop to maybe 5fps once hitting a new planet or something but I'm at ultra settings 2k and around 60fps. Consumers or too whiney. Just think about fps drop on PS4. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The ponies will get mad. Lol
  • Console Master Race. Huehuehue!
  • PC graphics are much better than its PS4 counterpart. PC version however is a tad on the laggy side. I have both. Just spent 10 min on laptop with GTX980M. Looks like I'll stick with console until some updates are provided. No Man's Sky = EVE Online for vegans
  • I have seen performance issues, but not as bad as is being described. Although I noticed a big change when I uncapped the framerate and disabled vsync. I recommend everyone do that, it helps more than it really ought to. I'm getting a mostly smooth 60 FPS now, but there is still a fair bit of stutter. It's playable, at least. But still, you'd expect better from my 980ti. My processor is only a Skylake i5, but that easily outclasses the PS4.
  • Will not even launch for me. Requesting refund from Steam.
  • Some might say that this is a conspiracy to sell more PS4 copies. I highly doubt that this is the case (most likely a lazy port) but it wouldn't surprise me at all if it did turn out that way. Posted via my Nexus 5X
  • That's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.
  • I'm devastated .. Been waiting in this game for 2 years. I preordered on steam, tried it and its lagging like mad. It took me 45 mins to run my mouse and to try and get the options to lowest possible settings.. A few crashes here and there, (I've a pretty decent pc build too) I've requested a steam refund.. Looks like ill have to save for a ps4.. I'm defiantly going to get it one way or another. It's my dream scifi geek game
  • I would get a refund and wait a month. They are planning many updates. And fixes. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Picked it up on PS4 earlier this week and love the game. Not much of a story, but a very relaxed gameplay and some amazing scenery. Hate to hear of PC issues... hopefully they will get them worked out soon. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm running the game on a i7 6700k with a gtx 1080 and no issues so far.
    I've noticed in some parts where the game has to generate a lot quickly the framerate drops to half the selected setting. Increasing the target for me made the game a lot smoother. I'm running with a 144 fps target, lowest fps was 72.
  • Winter Sale 50% off confirmed
  • all this bad press just because they didn't release xbox version?
  • Seriously?
  • Are you retarded or something ? Ayyyyy lmao
  • Unbelievable. Waited all these years for this?
  • One after another we hear PC ports getting disastrous launch, whether it's a UWP or Win32. What is up that?
  • When I preordered it, I must have missed the 'no Intel GPUs supported' line (it's now in the support note released today). Unfortunately, none of my systems have AMD or Nvidia GPUs except one and it's woefully underpowered for this game. I had hoped to play it on my Surface Pro so I could take it with me, but of course, not even close. I can play Watch_Dogs on it it though. Ah well, I've requested a refund. Disappointed, but not realgoly surprised. As a thought though - it might be clever for game makers, GoG or Steam to make a test app for their games that you can download and run on your system to validate it for the game. It would save people a LOT of hassles. Not everyone is a big enough gamer to know the relative specs of every video card or GPU out there.
  • you can try game debate app for chekcign ys requiremtn..    the gmae itself i okih on the whole it a great firt up.. but a lot of thing could be im,proved to make it more immerive.. the computer designing how up in a lot of places  
  • At least Steam allows refunds so no other demo is really required imo.
  • ON the other hand it run well on my i5 with a old 7790 and 8gig ram with a rare frame drop when you are traniiton big areas!
  • The PS4 version is anything but faultless.  Mine has crashed 6-7 times, though at least that was exciting, unlike this waste of money game. Its worth $25 at most, not $60+.
  • A huge universe, filled with explorable planets WHERE YOU ARE ALWAYS ALONE AND CAN NEVER INTERACT WITH OR EXPLORE WITH ANY OTHER PLAYERS........ What a waste
  • Too bad demos aren't the norm anymore. Would like to try the game out a little before shelling out 60 Euro!
  • Read developer support post on Steam forums... They didn't package VC runtime which is a pretty fundamental flaw. Then built for SSE 4.1 which limits what it runs on. Sounds like some basic stuff totally overlooked in this release. And that's before you get into the game.
  • Maybe he should choose his favorite perform based on Sales rather than he owns a PlayStation. He might of at least then had some support with getting it right and we then might stop hearing about this little five man team from Guildford of which some do not even wear shoes ballsing up.
  • Another hyped up game that has had all the big gaming outlets talking it up and then the end user finds out..actually its not that great. Its disappointing to see games like Elite Dangerous get overshadowed by the hype. During its development Star Citizen got all the hype even though long after Elite launched there really wasn't much to do or look at apart from some fancy ships to wander around in your hangar. Elite Dangerous had successful launches on PC and XBOX One and is still very much supported by the developers so if you want a space exploration game with multiplayer and support then jump off the No Mans Sky hype train and grab yourself a copy of Elite Dangerous instead.
  • NMS and Elite Dangerous are different games.
  • My boy tells me 15 thousands refunds on steam and rising. Total disaster obviously sacrificed one platform for another.
  • Well I guess I don't feel as dissapointed about this game not coming to Xbox One. You know what this means though, it's all up to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to be this year's successful space game. I miss playing real space games and hopefully Infinite Warfare can live up to its promise.
  • If I'm not mistaken Space is only a small part of the campaign for COD. I wouldn't count on it being your space game.
  • but but but PC master race? lol